Eventually I was called forward by a receptionist who was ensconced behind a large glass screen - very customer friendly - and I explained what I wanted to do.
And that was where it all went 'pear shaped' - she couldn't do the change of ownership, because that is done by another department called 'Revenues', but she could ring them & 'get somebody to come round'. Ah! sorry can't do that - "Brian isn't there" - and it appears that Brian is the only person who can deal with that. I was given an email address to message 'Brian' and tell him what I wanted.
OK - lets try 'change of use'. No, we don't deal with that here - but it is a Council Department - I say. So I am given another email address & told that they will help me.
Are but now a shred of light emerges! - I could go next door and ask to see someone from Planning & a duty officer should be able to come & see me.
So armed with this piece of information, I toddle off next door & explain to another receptionist that I have just been sent round from the 'Contact Centre' and could I see the 'Duty' Planning Officer.
Invited to - 'sit over there' a young lady eventually appeared & I explained that I wanted to talk about 'change of use' for a commercial property in Bolsover. She took lots of information from me - well a couple of things actually, and said she would have to go & ask a Planning Officer - but isn't she the 'Duty' Planning Officer?
Some Minutes later she re-appeared with the news that I can't apply for 'change of use' as the buildings haven't been used for some time, so I will have to apply for Full Planning Permission.
Hardly surprising they haven't been used for some time if this is the way it goes.
She then very kindly explained the documents that I would need & that there would be a fee of £462. She could get me a copy of the Planning Application Forms or I could download them easily from the Council Planning Portal. OK I'll do that I said - big mistake in hindsight!
I came home and sent Brian an email, but as I write I am still waiting for a reply, and the Planning Application Forms?? Well they weren't obvious on the 'Planning Portal', so I went on to the 'Chat with us' option and Sharon came online. I explained what I was trying to do, and her reply was - "Ah yes they are a bit difficult to find, I will try and find the link for you" Eventually Sharon comes back & types a message saying that she thinks this is the link I want but if not then email - yes you've guessed it - the very email that I have contacted her on!!
So, tomorrow, I am off to the Council Offices again to try and get somebody to talk to me, and believe you me heaven help anybody who says "Just email this address.....!!"
Which makes me wonder - why would anybody want to start a small business if this is the encouragement they get at the start - we haven't even reached Beachers Brook yet!!
Look out for the next installment!!